If there is anyone who has had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in Modified racing as of late, it has got to be Woody Pitkat. The Stafford Springs, Connecticut driver has had racecars capable of victory nearly every event he’s entered, but it seemed as though the gremlins would set their sights on him during the later stages of those events. But Friday night at Stafford Motor Speedway in the 80-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series feature, Pitkat would leave those gremlins in the dust.
For the first 17 laps, Pitkat would follow Rowan Pennink as the two Stafford SK Modified regulars marched their way to second and third behind early race leader Steve Masse. Pitkat would power past Pennink to second on lap 31 and soon had Masse in his clutches as Masse hit lap traffic on lap 43.
“I got to Steve (Masse) and I felt like I was pushing it pretty hard then I kind of backed off and I just saw the lapped cars and figured alright I’m gonna wait,” Pitkat told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I could see he was starting to lose a little bit, he was starting to get a little free on exit, so when he got to that lap car I just saw he was out there like a big steak so I could tell he was gonna take the top to go around the lap cars, but there was a lap car in front of him and I figured the guy on the bottom was gonna roll the bottom and try and get out of there, so I followed him (lap car) and just tried to set sail and just hit my marks save the tires, easy in, easy off.”
But once again, being out front was no guarantee of an easy victory for Pitkat.
“There was one scary moment there I think when Dylan (Kopec) blew up there. We come off of two and I thought he was down and out and I must’ve run over some oil, the thing got sideways and I bounced it off the fence. I was like ‘Oh my God,’” Pitkat said.
A spin by Dan Meservey Jr. on lap 62 would be the final caution and restart of the race and would give Chris Pasteryak, who had moved to second, a shot at lead on the restart. The two would go side by side for two laps, a scene reminiscent of the heated battle the two had in the Tri-Track Modified Series event at Monadnock Speedway two weeks prior.
“He (Pasteryak) could have come down a couple times but he said he was real tight and ran him like I should’ve run him at Monadnock,” Pitkat explained. “He ran me really clean tonight, so I owe him that. I owe him anyways just because I’ve really looked up to him and we’ve been friends. It was cool to see him on the podium and congratulate me like I congratulated him at Lee so hopefully we can put that behind us.”
That race is just one of the events that Pitkat hopes to put behind him including the 40-lap SK Modified feature held earlier in the evening.
“In the SK race (earlier) we had a really good car,” Pitkat explained. “I really wanted to finish on the podium for those guys to thank them for everything they’ve done. We just got stuck on the bottom and that was bad luck. If there were two or less restarts we would’ve been on the podium. If there were two or less restarts at Monadnock we would’ve probably won the race. If there were a couple less restarts at Seekonk I probably wouldn’t have gotten spun. But that’s all behind us, its stuff you can dwell on, but you can’t, we gotta look ahead.”
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com